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Computational Journalism Server

Published by M. Edward (Ed) Borasky
Based on openSUSE 12.1 64-bit x86


The Computational Journalism Server is an appliance composed of bleeding edge open source technologies. The base is a SUSE Studio appliance, built on 64-bit openSUSE 12.1. It starts with the Server template and adds

After downloading and booting up the appliance, the appliance administrator runs scripts to install


The problem domain of computational journalism is dominated by three main application areas:

  1. Geospatial processing / mapping (GIS),
  2. Data science
    • Natural language processing,
    • Text mining,
    • Machine learning,
    • Social network analysis, and
  3. Finance, time series and econometrics.

The R language and Comprehensive R Archive Network (CRAN) libraries provide robust open source solutions for all of these.

There are three goals for the Computational Journalism Server:

  1. Provide an Integrated Development Environment and a platform for computational journalism web server applications written in R,
  2. Provide a computational journalism server optimizable to native hardware on a physical machine, and
  3. Provide a computational journalism compute node capable of running as a node in a cluster, grid or cloud infrastructure.

The long-term goal of this project is to provide a fully-open-source computational journalism Platform as a Service (PaaS). The current bill of materials is inspired by the Red Hat / Fedora OpenShift Origin project and the CloudFreeStyle project.

Getting Started

Getting Started With Computational Journalism Server


I’m looking for contributors! As with any open source project, users and testers are always wanted. I’m especially interested in computational journalism use cases. I’ve got a few things I want to build, mostly in the Finance and Twitter text mining area, but I don’t know too much about the other application areas.

The other type of contribution I’m seeking is from people who know how to turn an appliance into a full PaaS. I’ve looked at Cloud Foundry and OpenShift and that’s the sort of thing this wants to be when it grows up. Cloud Foundry is built on Ubuntu and OpenShift on Red Hat Enterprise Linux – why shouldn’t openSUSE share in that fun?

Road Map

See the project Milestones / Issues page at for project road map.

More Documentation

  1. Installing VirtualBox Guest Additions
  2. QuantLib on Computational Journalism Server
  3. Hadoop on Computational Journalism Server
  4. Upgrading From Server To Desktop
  5. Running Overview on the Computational Journalism Server


Downloaded 136 times Cloned 58 times

Downloads are no longer available for this appliance, as it is based on an OS version that we no longer support.

You can clone the appliance, then upgrade and build with a current OS version.

Release notes

1. I removed CoffeeScript and Node.js. I wasn’t using them.
2. I dropped back to Erlang R14B-1.1. Everything tests fine with it.
3. I removed libatlas3. I’ve abandoned bare metal support for the moment in favor of moving forward on a PaaS build.
4. I am no longer building ISOs. They’re really only useful for bare metal installs.
5. I’ve removed references to KVM and have abandoned plans for OpenStack, KVM and LXC hosting. Again, I’m moving forward on PaaS rather than waste any more cycles on testing hosting solutions.
6. I’ve added the BatchJobs and BatchExperiments CRAN packages to the base.

Technical Details

Appliance configuration

Basic settings

Keyboard: english-us
Time zone: UTC
Language: en_US.UTF-8
Network: dhcp
Firewall: enabled


3 patterns, 827 packages
View package list…

Security summary


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