Installing Big Brother

This should extract three files..



- It is recommended to read the BB.README.FIRST file for useful information,
like it tells you BBSVR is the SERVER and BBCLT is the CLIENT installer..

tar -xvf BBSVR-bb1.9i-btf.tar

- Extract the SERVER tarchive..

cd bb1.9i-btf/install

- Change to the install directory..

./bbconfig freebsd

- Run the installer..
Big Brother!
Scroll through the licence agreement using the down arrow..

y to agree to terms of licence

- What will be the user ID for BB [bb]: bbuser
(the bbuser userid created previously..)

[installer confirms the BBHOME directory is writable. The BBHOME variable is where Big Brother will run from, in this case, /usr/local/bb/bb1.9i-btf

- Use FQDN (y/n): [y] y
(confirm you will be using Fully Qualified Domain Names (FQDNs) in all the following configuration settings..)

- What host will be the BBDISPLAY []: [press enter to confirm]
(confirms the FQDN of the web server which will display the showing the output - variable: BBDISPLAY. Note your hostname will be different to the example)

- What host will be the BBPAGER []: [press enter to confirm]
(confirms the FQDN of server which will email alerts - variable: BBPAGER. Note your hostname will be different to the example)

- Is this host a BBDISPLAY host (y/n): [y] y
(confirms the current computer is the BBDISPLAY host)

- Is this host a BBPAGER host (y/n): [y] y
(confirms the current computer is the BBPAGER host)

- Enter the default e-mail address to send notifications to: []
(enter email address for user notifications - change the above to your required details)

- Enter the base URL for BB [/bb]: [press enter to confirm]
(confirms BASE URL for BB. This is the directory which will be 'created' inside the Apache /htdocs directory. Go with the default /bb)

- Enter the base URL of the CGI scripts [/cgi-bin]: [press enter to confirm]
(confirms location of cgi scripts; confusing as it doesn't add '/usr/local/apache' to the path)

- *** We've noticed that we've set some of the pathnames wrong
*** by default here. May we mail a summary of the paths we
*** missed back to so we can update our installs?
[y/n] y
(do not worry, this message is only because a path was different to the default suggestion. Say yes or no to send an email to to to update BB's install script for future users..)

- Enter web server user id [nobody]: [press enter to confirm]
(confirms no special id is needed to access the BB web page)

- Enter group name [nobody]: [press enter to confirm]
(as above..)

The installer then prompts..

--> Done.  Now do
           chown -R bbuser /usr/local/bb/bbvar /usr/local/bb/bb1.9i-btf
           su - bbuser
                        to continue installation using that user ID

Now compile Big Brother

           cd /usr/local/bb/bb1.9i-btf/src
           make install

So do this..

chown  -R  bbuser  /usr/local/bb/bbvar  /usr/local/bb/bb1.9i-btf

su  bbuser

- Perform a subsequent login as the BBUSER (bbuser)..
cd  /usr/local/bb/bb1.9i-btf/src


make  install

cd  ../etc

- local directory [pwd] should now be /usr/local/bb/bb1.9i-btf/etc]

cp bb-hosts  bb-hosts.bak

- always make a backup of config files, BEFORE editing them

Editing the bb-hosts File

This is the file which tells Big Brother which servers and services to monitor. It should contain the following line to start off with. This will effectively make the server monitor itself as well as any other hosts you add later.	# BBDISPLAY BBPAGER BBNET
Here is an example of my own bb-hosts file..

vi  bb-hosts # BBNET BBDISPLAY BBPAGER # BBNET ftp # BBNET ftp

In the first line, the server is monitoring itself (BBNET), is displaying the results (BBDISPLAY) and will send out alerts (BBPAGER). This is the usual setting for the top line.

The subsequent lines indicate the folowing hosts are also to be monitored (BBNET), with details of IPs, Services to be monitored and FQDNs.

Save and exit from the bb-hosts editor.

Next, run the following scripts..


- Checks the bbdef*.sh/bbinc*.sh/ source scripts for invalid entries. Follow the screen prompts and fix any errors.


- Checks the bb-hosts file for errors. Follow the screen prompts and fix any errors.


- Change back to root user. You need to be the root user to continue.

cd  /usr/local/bb

chown  -R  bbuser:bbuser .

- Change the ownership of all the directories and files in the /bb directory back to the BBUSER. Note dot at end = ALL file & DIRs.

Symlinks and Apache

ln  -s  /usr/local/bb/bb1.9i-btf/www  /usr/local/apache/htdocs/bb

This will only work if Apache is able to follow symbolic links, which it should do. So even though there is no actual /bb directory in the /htdocs directory, the symlink from /usr/local/bb/bb1.9i-btf/www will make it appear as if there is. Clever.

Starting the Beast

The Big Brother daemon must be started by the BBUSER, in my case bbuser..

su  bbuser

- once again, become the BBUSER..

cd  /usr/local/bb/bb1.9i-btf

./  start

- start the Big Brother exectuable..
Wait a minute or two for the thing to get started and registering.

Web into the Big Brother directory from another machine,


..and you should see your very own BIG BROTHER in all its blinky-LED glory. It takes a while to gather its data..

Welcome to Big Brother

It takes between 5 and 10 minutes to collect, process,
and to fully render the first status page. When this process
is completed, this screen will be replaced by your Big Brother Display. Thank you for choosing Quest Software Collecting status information... please wait...

Tweakin' it

By default, the system checks the target services once every 300 seconds. To increase the update frequency, edit the file and change the BBSLEEP=60 for 60 seconds, or as required.

To fix any errors or change the servers or services to be checked, edit the main config file as you did above..

vi  /usr/local/bb/bb1.9i-btf/etc/bb-hosts