WebSphere MQ and Ubuntu (and other developer resources)

For some time now, I’ve been using Ubuntu as my desktop operating system. Although I’m yet to be convinced by Unity (it’s getting there, the more I learn the shortcuts and stick with it), I do know that Ubuntu is a hugely-popular platform for developers – and I know that many of my colleagues at IBM who are in development roles choose our internal Linux-based client options (which cover a range of distributions), instead of Windows or OS X.

So, what about developing with or using WebSphere MQ on Ubuntu? Well, the officially-supported platforms for WebSphere MQ V7.0.x don’t include Ubuntu – that’s primarily a combination of the relative popularity of RedHat or SuSE Enterprise platforms in production deployments, time and resource spent on testing, and the fact that it would probably only be practical to test and support it on a Long Term Support release if it ever became supported.

However, it is possible to get WMQ installed and running on Ubuntu without jumping through too many hoops. The primary stumbling block is that the software is packaged in RPM format rather than in Debian/Ubuntu-friendly DEB files. One piece of advice is to avoid any guides that suggest converting the packages using alien… it may seem unusual, but you’re likely to find it far easier to get it working by installing rpm on the system instead. My colleague Rob Convery has posted a couple of very useful blog entries on this subject which I’d recommend if you have a need to get yourself running on Ubuntu – again, bearing in mind that it is not an officially supported platform, and that should you encounter issues then it might be necessary to reproduce them under RHEL or SLES when raising a service call with IBM.


There are other ways to get to use and learn about WMQ too, of course – for example, you could grab one of the IBM Industry Application Platform cloud images to run on the IBM SmartCloud or Amazon EC2 (containing WAS V7, DB2 Express-C 9.7, and WMQ V7.0.1, running on SLES), or you can try a number of the WMQ family products in IBM’s SOA Sandbox, (including WMQ File Transfer Edition, and WMQ Advanced Message Security). You can also check out the MQonTV YouTube channel. Let me know what you think!

5 thoughts on “WebSphere MQ and Ubuntu (and other developer resources)”

  1. Mixing packaging systems… “that sounds pretty sick” is my first reaction. Then you think about it a bit more carefully and it still doesn’t seem like a good idea from a consistency point of view. However, for a particular application or installation (for the advanced user) it might just be a half-reasonable solution. That said, given RPM and Deb packaging systems at their basic level are all about copying files, setting permissions and running scripts I really wonder what’s wrong with converting between the two? The answer to that is in the inter-dependencies between different RPM and Debs and the functionality each provides therein but that argument equally applies to using both RPM and Deb on the same box. Perhaps if Alien really isn’t doing the job for you some sort of wrapper layer built into RPM and Deb so they can each be used transparently might be useful.

    1. I agree that this is… “sub-optimal”… but the reality is that several folks have found that converting the product RPMs with alien tends to cause issues with user IDs not being created or file permissions not being correctly granted. It may be that WMQ could adopt a different installation mechanism in future but I don’t know what plans are, and this method is known to work.

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  3. Hi Andy,

    I installed MQ 7.501 and MB on Unbuntu 13.04. All is working well except that I can’t get the MB explorer plug-in to work. I see no errors and no plug-in, no matter what I try. You did not perhaps get this to work?


    1. Hi Amanda, I haven’t worked at IBM on MQ and MB for some time, so I’m afraid I can’t help – I would raise a PMR with IBM for this.

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