Request Tracker Helpdesk

Installs Request Tracker 4.0.5 (RT4) helpdesk system with some extras.

Note: This install assumes you have Ubuntu 11.10, and may not work on other versions. Requires

Cluster Database Service


Cluster Database Management Service

Cluster Load Balancer Service

Runs on with a database on and load balanced by


RT can be used for a wide variety of areas. With a little work, it can become very useful.

We use RT for our IT and Maintenance tickets. We have two emails, itsupport and maintenance. Emailing the itsupport email will create a ticket in the Technology queue, and emailing the maintenance email will put the ticket in the Maintenance queue.

There are also two user groups in RT, Technology and Maintenance.

Each only sees their respective queue. This way it’s like the helpdesk system is two totally separate helpdesks, both visible only to the root user (or anyone you make a superuser.)

There are also several other queues for each group - Campus/Network/Warranty/etc for Technology and Electrical/Plumbing/etc for Maintenance.

Users are authenticated from Active Directory for Single Sign On. We allow logins from users in a Domain RT Users group.

These users are allowed to log in and manage tickets in their respective queues.

All other users (those who create tickets) interact with the helpdesk only though email, and have no idea these separate queues even exist.

We use an almost default system, only adding queues, and permissions for anyone to create a ticket.

We currently use one script to send SMS messages when a user has been assigned a ticket.

Install Software

Ubuntu does not currently have the needed RT packages to work with nginx. However Debian packages exist that work nicely:

sudo apt-get install nginx fetchmail ssmtp libfcgi-perl mysql-client
mkdir /tmp/debs
cd /tmp/debs
sudo dpkg -i *.deb

This will spit out a bunch of errors. We need to install the dependencies now:

sudo apt-get install -f --no-install-recommends

Note: The –no-install-recommends option prevents apt-get from installing apache.

Eventually a configuration screen for RT will come up and you can enter configuration values. Don’t worry, you can change these later.

If you don’t have mysql-server installed on the RT server (because you want the database to be on another machine) the install will fail, because it does not allow you to put in the database server option.

This is okay! Select ignore and finish the install out.

Make sure the appropriate permissions exist for a user from the RT server, and run:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure request-tracker4

Now you will be able to enter all the options needed and the installer will create the initial database for you.

Note: If the install fails again, you must abort the reconfigure before you try again. Retrying will silently fail.

Configure Software

RT is tied heavily to email. We can get around setting up a dedicated email system using fetchmail and ssmtp. This setup does assume a few things:

  • You have an account setup in your email system for RT
  • This account has privileges to use your email server as a relay (this account can send messages to any email from smtp.) It is also possible to allow this for the RT server instead.
  • This account can access it’s email from POP3 (or IMAP.)

First we set up ssmtp for outgoing mail. Simply edit /etc/ssmtp/ssmtp.conf with the options you need.

Next we set up incoming mail. First we enable the daemon in /etc/default/fetchmail. Next you add your account details in /etc/fetchmailrc.

You can add multiple accounts so different emails go to different queues. Just duplicate the last line and change the parameters.

Next we need to correct permissions.

sudo touch /var/log/fetchmail.log
sudo chown fetchmail /var/log/fetchmail.log
sudo chown fetchmail /etc/fetchmailrc
sudo chmod 600 /etc/fetchmailrc

Now we edit RT’s configuration. Open /etc/request-tracker4/RT_SiteConfig.d/50-debconf. You will probably want it to look similar to our file.

Now you need to run:

sudo update-rt-siteconfig-4
sudo service rt4-fcgi restart

You will need to run these commands every time you update the RT config.

Next we want to tell nginx how to run RT, so edit /etc/nginx/sites-available/default with your information.

Finally we need to start all our services:

sudo service nginx restart
sudo service fetchmail restart

You should now be able to log into your RT system with the root login you created.

If you have trouble, have a look at /var/log/nginx/error.log or /var/log/request-tracker4/rt.log.

Once logged in, you will probably want to give people permission to create tickets from email, so go to Tools->Configuration->Global->Group Rights

And add CreateTicket and ReplyToTicket rights for the Everyone group.

Now send an email to the email you set up and see if a ticket is created.

If nothing happens take a look at /var/log/fetchmail.log to see what went wrong.

Once you can get a ticket in the system, reply to it from RT to test outgoing mail.

If you have issues here, check /var/log/syslog and /var/log/request-tracker4/rt.log.

If everything works correctly, congratulations - you have a working RT instance!

If you want to enable the RT Shredder you need to run:

sudo mkdir /var/cache/request-tracker4/data/RT-Shredder
sudo chown www-data /var/cache/request-tracker4/data/RT-Shredder

You can create Queues, Users, Groups, and tickets now. Keep going if you want more...

Active Directory Logins

To get AD logins working, we need to install an extra module:

sudo apt-get install build-essential
sudo cpan
#take defaults
cpan> install RT::Authen::ExternalAuth

If it asks you for a path to use /usr/share/request-tracker4/lib.

For some reason, it will not necessarily ask you, but instead put it in the wrong place. In our case it installed the plugin to /usr/local/plugins/

To fix that run:

sudo cp -R /usr/local/plugins/ /usr/share/request-tracker4/

Next we will need to create the ldap configuration. Copy over /etc/request-tracker4/RT_SiteConfig.d/52-ldap-auth and edit it for your settings. Once satisfied reload RT:

sudo update-rt-siteconfig-4
sudo service rt4-fcgi restart

At this point you should be able to log into RT with an AD user (as long as that user is in the allowed group if you specified one.)

Check the RT log if things don’t go how you plan.

Particularly, if you are getting messages like:

Couldn't create user <user>: Email address in use

You probably sent an email from that user’s email already. Just go into Users and search for that email (make sure to check Include disabled users in search.)

You can change the email, or change the username to the right one and then you should be able to log in.

You can add AD users to the system (so you can assign permissions without them having to log in first) by creating their username in the system without a password. You can then assign permissions, and they can log in later with those permissions applied.

You will probably want to give Rationale another read on create Groups and Queues.

SMS Notifications

Email notifications are great, but what if you could have RT text a user when they are assigned a ticket. And what if that text contained a link to the mobile interface where they could check out the ticket where ever they are?

We can do this with RT Scrips, twilio, and a bit of python.

First we need to make sure we have everything we need. You need to make sure is not blocked in your firewall or internet filter. Next run:

sudo apt-get install python-pip
sudo easy_install twilio
sudo easy_install TinyUrl

Next copy to /opt/ and edit with your twilio information. We need to fix permissions:

sudo chmod 600 /opt/
sudo chown www-data:www-data /opt/

Next we create the Scrip. Go to Tools->configuration->Global->Scrips->Create and set the following options:

Description:    On Owner Change Notify Owner by SMS
Condition:  On Owner Change
Action: User Defined
Template:   Global Template: Blank
Stage:  Transaction Create

Finally, fill in Custom action preparation code with the code found in

Go ahead and save the Scrip.

Now add a Mobile number for a user and try changing the owner of a ticket to that user. If nothing happens, check the RT log for troubleshooting.

We also have a script for notifying a certain user when a new ticket is added to a queue. You create a new Scrip as before and use the code found in

If you have any issues with any of the setup, contact us below and we will help in any way we can!

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