I'm setting up a linux server to host RoR apps written by students for their project. The students will (obviously) not have root access to the server. The students all have windows systems for development.
There are two issues: 1) should I have them use mongrel or mongrel_cluster?
2) should I have them use capistrano, or should they just copy their stuff up to the server?
For #1, my impression is that mongrel_cluster really wants to be run as root. My plan is for the students to each run mongrel_rails on an assigned port. Apache will be configured to proxy to that port. If the machine is rebooted, the students will have to restart mongrel. Not ideal, but I think this is reasonable, unless anyone has a better idea. If they really need more than one mongrel, I can always assign 2 or 3 ports to each student, and they can manually start mongrel on each of them.
For #2, I need more information to make a decision:
a) how hard is it to install a subversion client on windows? (I personally try to use *nix as much as possible) I really want to avoid having to debug problems on the student's machines. If this is anything other than trivially simple, I'm not sure I want to do this for the class.
b) I assume that each student would also need to install the capistrano gem on their machine?
c) If I make it past a & b, it seems that capistrano wants to use mongrel_cluster, not just mongrel. Is this right?
So, I'm leaning towards just having them sftp their stuff up to the server and restarting mongrel_rails.
I appreciate any comments.