Hue Tarball Installation Guide

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Hue Installation Instructions
2.1. Install Hadoop from CDH3
2.2. Install Hue
2.3. Configuring Hadoop for Hue
2.4. Further Hadoop Configuration and Caveats
2.5. Restart Your Hadoop Cluster
3. Configuring Hue
3.1. Web Server Configuration
3.2. Authentication
3.3. Configuring Hue for SSL
3.4. Pointing Hue to Your Master Nodes
4. Starting Hue from the Tarball
5. Administering Hue
5.1. Hue Processes
5.2. Hue Logging
5.3. The Hue Database
6. Hue Applications
6.1. Beeswax, the Hive UI
7. Using Hue
7.1. Supported Browsers
7.2. Feedback
7.3. Reporting Bugs

1. Introduction

Hue is a graphical user interface to operate and develop applications for Apache Hadoop. Hue applications are collected into a desktop-style environment and delivered as a Web application, requiring no additional installation for individual users.

This guide describes how to install and configure a Hue tarball. For information about installing Hue packages, see Installing Hue.

There is also a companion SDK guide that describes how to develop new Hue applications: Hue SDK Documentation


Hue requires the Hadoop contained in Cloudera’s Distribution for Apache Hadoop (CDH), version 3 Beta 4.

Conventions Used in this Guide:

  • Commands that must be run with root permission have a # command prompt.
  • Commands that do not require root permission have a $ command prompt.

2. Hue Installation Instructions

The following instructions describe how to install the Hue tarball on a multi-node cluster. You must install CDH first and update some Hadoop configuration files before installing Hue.


You’ll need to install the Hue plugins on every machine that’s running Hadoop daemons.

2.1. Install Hadoop from CDH3

To use Hue, you must install and run Hadoop from CDH3 Beta 4 or later. If you are not running this version of CDH or later, upgrade your cluster before proceeding.

2.2. Install Hue

Hue consists of a web service that runs on a special node in your cluster. Choose one node where you want to run Hue. This guide refers to that node as the Hue Server. For optimal performance, this should be one of the nodes within your cluster, though it can be a remote node as long as there are no overly restrictive firewalls. For small clusters of less than 10 nodes, you can use your existing master node as the Hue Server.

You can download the Hue tarball here:

2.2.1. Hue Dependencies

Hue employs some Python modules which use native code and requires certain development libraries be installed on your system. To install from the tarball, you must have the following installed:

Table 1. Required Dependencies

Redhat Debian
gcc gcc
libxml2-devel libxml2-dev
libxslt-devel libxslt-dev
cyrus-sasl-devel libsasl2-dev
mysql-devel libmysqlclient-dev
python-devel python-dev
python-setuptools python-setuptools
python-simplejson python-simplejson
sqlite-devel libsqlite3-dev
ant ant

2.2.2. Build

Configure $HADOOP_HOME and $PREFIX with the path of your Hadoop installation and the path where you want to install Hue by running:

$ HADOOP_HOME=/path/to/hadoop-0.20 PREFIX=/path/to/install/into make install

You can install Hue anywhere on your system - it does not need root permission although additional third-party SDK applications may. It is a good practice to create a new user for Hue and either install Hue in that user’s home directory, or in a directory within /usr/local.

2.2.3. Install Hadoop Plugins

In order to communicate with Hadoop, Hue requires a plugin jar that you must install and configure. This jar is:


relative to the Hue installation directory.

Run these commands to create a symlink your Hadoop lib directory (/usr/lib/hadoop-0.20/lib if you installed CDH via a Debian or RPM package) to this jar:

$ cd /usr/lib/hadoop/lib
$ ln -s /usr/local/hue/desktop/libs/hadoop/java-lib/hue*jar .
# Restart Hadoop

On a multi-node cluster, you must install the plugin jar on every node. You do not need to install all of the Hue components on every node.

2.2.4. Restart Hadoop

After making the changes in your Hadoop configuration, restart the Hadoop daemons:

# /etc/init.d/hadoop-0.20-datanode restart
# /etc/init.d/hadoop-0.20-namenode restart
# /etc/init.d/hadoop-0.20-jobtracker restart
# /etc/init.d/hadoop-0.20-secondarynamenode restart
# /etc/init.d/hadoop-0.20-tasktracker restart

2.2.5. Starting Hue

To start Hue, use build/env/bin/supervisor. This will start several subprocesses, corresponding to the different Hue components.

2.2.6. Troubleshooting the Hue Tarball Installation

Q: I moved my Hue installation from one directory to another and now Hue no. longer functions correctly.

A: Due to the use of absolute paths by some Python packages, you must run a series of commands if you move your Hue installation. In the new location, run:

$ rm app.reg
$ rm -r build
$ make apps

Q: Why does "make install" compile other pieces of software? A: In order to ensure that Hue is stable on a variety of distributions and architectures, it installs a Python virtual environment which includes its dependencies. This ensures that the software can depend on specific versions of various Python libraries and you don’t have to be concerned about missing software components.

2.3. Configuring Hadoop for Hue

Hue requires that you install and configure some plugins in your Hadoop installation. In order to enable the plugins, you must make some small additions to your configuration files. Make these configuration changes on each node in your cluster by editing the following files in: /etc/hadoop-0.20/conf/

2.3.1. hdfs-site.xml

Add the following configuration properties to hdfs-site.xml:

  <description>Comma-separated list of namenode plugins to be activated.
  <description>Comma-separated list of datanode plugins to be activated.

2.3.2. mapred-site.xml

Add the following configuration properties to mapred-site.xml:

  <description>Comma-separated list of jobtracker plugins to be activated.


To enable full monitoring in the Health application, the metrics contexts must not be NullContext. You can configure as shown below:

# Exposes /metrics URL endpoint for metrics information.

2.4. Further Hadoop Configuration and Caveats


If you are setting $HADOOP_CLASSPATH in your, be sure to set it in such a way that user-specified options are preserved. For example:




# HADOOP_CLASSPATH=<your_additions>

This enables certain components of Hue to add to Hadoop’s classpath using the environment variable.

2.4.2. hadoop.tmp.dir

If your users are likely to be submitting jobs both using Hue and from the same machine via the command line interface, they will be doing so as the hue user if they’re using Hue and via their own user account on the command line. This leads to some contention on the directory specified by hadoop.tmp.dir, which defaults to /tmp/hadoop-${}. Specifically, hadoop.tmp.dir is used to unpack jars in bin/hadoop jar. One work around to this is to set hadoop.tmp.dir to /tmp/hadoop-${}-${hue.suffix} in the core-site.xml file:


Unfortunately, when the variable is unset, you’ll end up with directories named /tmp/hadoop-user_name-${hue.suffix} in /tmp. The job submission daemon, however, will still work.


The Beeswax server writes into a local directory on the Hue machine that is specified by hadoop.tmp.dir to unpack its jars. That directory needs to be writable by the hue user, which is the default user who starts Beeswax Server, or else Beeswax server will not start. You may also make that directory world-writable.

2.5. Restart Your Hadoop Cluster

Restart all of the daemons in your cluster so that the plugins can be loaded.

You can confirm that the plugins are running correctly by tailing the daemon logs:

$ tail --lines=500 /var/log/hadoop-0.20/hadoop*namenode*.log | grep ThriftPlugin
2009-09-28 16:30:44,337 INFO org.apache.hadoop.thriftfs.ThriftPluginServer: Starting Thrift server
2009-09-28 16:30:44,419 INFO org.apache.hadoop.thriftfs.ThriftPluginServer:
Thrift server listening on
[Tip]Configuring Your Firewall for Hue

Hue currently requires that the machines within your cluster can connect to each other freely over TCP. The machines outside your cluster must be able to open TCP port 8088 on the Hue Server to interact with the system.

3. Configuring Hue

Hue ships with a default configuration that will work for pseudo-distributed clusters. If you are running on a real cluster, you must make a few changes to the /etc/hue/hue.ini configuration file. The following sections describe the key configuration options you must make to configure Hue.

[Tip]Listing all Configuration Options

To list all available configuration options, run:

/usr/share/hue/build/env/bin/hue config_help | less

This commands outlines the various sections and options in the configuration, and provides help and information on the default values.

[Tip]Viewing Current Configuration Options

To view the current configuration from within Hue, open:

[Tip]Using Multiple Files to Store Your Configuration

Hue loads and merges all of the files with extension .ini located in the /etc/hue/conf/ directory. Files that are alphabetically later take precedence.

3.1. Web Server Configuration

Hue uses the CherryPy web server. You can use the following options to change the IP address and port that the web server listens on. The default setting is port 8088 on all configured IP addresses.

# Webserver listens on this address and port

3.1.1. Specifying the Secret Key

For security, you should also specify the secret key that is used for secure hashing in the session store.

Open the /etc/hue/hue.ini configuration file. In the desktop section, enter a long series of random characters (30 to 60 characters is recommended).


If you don’t specify a secret key, your session cookies will not be secure. Hue will run but it will also display error messages telling you to set the secret key.

3.2. Authentication

By default, the first user who logs in to Hue can choose any username and password and becomes an administrator automatically. This user can create other user and administrator accounts. User information is stored in the Django database in the Django backend.

The authentication system is pluggable. For more information, see the Hue SDK Documentation.

3.3. Configuring Hue for SSL

You can configure Hue to serve over HTTPS. To do so, you must install "pyOpenSSL" within Hue’s context and configure your keys.

To install pyOpenSSL, from the root of your Hue installation path, do the following steps:

  1. Run this command:
$ ./build/env/bin/easy_install pyOpenSSL
  1. Configure Hue to use your private key by adding the following options to the /etc/hue/hue.ini configuration file:
  1. Ideally, you would have an appropriate key signed by a Certificate Authority. If you’re just testing, you can create a self-signed key using the openssl command that may be installed on your system:
# Create a key
$ openssl genrsa 1024 > host.key
# Create a self-signed certificate
$ openssl req -new -x509 -nodes -sha1 -key host.key > host.cert
[Note]Self-signed Certificates and File Uploads

To upload files using the Hue File Browser over HTTPS requires using a proper SSL Certificate. Self-signed certificates don’t work.

3.4. Pointing Hue to Your Master Nodes

If your Hadoop cluster contains multiple nodes, you should configure Hue to point to the external hostnames of your NameNode and JobTracker. To do so, change the namenode_host and jobtracker_host lines in the /etc/hue/hue.ini configuration file. Refer to the inline comments in the configuration file for more information.

4. Starting Hue from the Tarball

After your cluster is running with the plugins enabled, you can start Hue on your Hue Server by running:

# build/env/bin/supervisor

Your Hue installation is now running.

5. Administering Hue

Now that you’ve installed and started Hue, you can feel free to skip ahead to the Using Hue section. Administrators may want to refer to this section for more details about managing and operating a Hue installation.

5.1. Hue Processes

5.1.1. Process Hierarchy

A script called supervisor manages all Hue processes. The supervisor is a watchdog process — its only purpose is to spawn and monitor other processes. A standard Hue installation starts and monitors the following processes:

  • runcpserver - a web server based on CherryPy that provides the core web functionality of Hue
  • jobsubd - a daemon which handles submission of jobs to Hadoop
  • beeswax server - a daemon that manages concurrent Hive queries

If you have installed other applications into your Hue instance, you may see other daemons running under the supervisor as well.

You can see the supervised processes running in the output of ps -f -u hue:

hue       8685  8679  0 Aug05 ?        00:01:39 /usr/share/hue/build/env/bin/python /usr/share/hue/build/env/bin/desktop runcpserver
hue       8693  8679  0 Aug05 ?        00:00:01 /usr/share/hue/build/env/bin/python /usr/share/hue/build/env/bin/desktop jobsubd
hue       8695  8679  0 Aug05 ?        00:00:06 /usr/java/jdk1.6.0_14/bin/java -Xmx1000m -Dhadoop.log.dir=/usr/lib/hadoop-0.20/logs -Dhadoop.log.file=hadoop.log ...

Note that the supervisor automatically restarts these processes if they fail for any reason. If the processes fail repeatedly within a short time, the supervisor itself shuts down.

5.2. Hue Logging

The Hue logs are found in /var/log/hue. Inside the log directory you can find:

  • An access.log file, which contains a log for all requests against the Hue web server.
  • A supervisor.log file, which contains log information for the supervisor process.
  • A supervisor.out file, which contains the stdout and stderr for the supervisor process.
  • A .log file for each supervised process described above, which contains the logs for that process.
  • A .out file for each supervised process described above, which contains the stdout and stderr for that process.

If users on your cluster have problems running Hue, you can often find error messages in these log files. If you are unable to start Hue from the init script, the supervisor.log log file can often contain clues.

5.2.1. Viewing Recent Log Messages through your Web Browser

In addition to logging INFO level messages to the logs directory, the Hue web server keeps a small buffer of log messages at all levels in memory. You can view these logs by visiting http://myserver:8088/logs. The DEBUG level messages shown can sometimes be helpful in troubleshooting issues.

5.3. The Hue Database

Hue requires a SQL database to store small amounts of data, including user account information as well as history of job submissions and Hive queries. By default, Hue is configured to use the embedded database SQLite for this purpose, and should require no configuration or management by the administrator. However, MySQL is the recommended database to use; this section contains instructions for configuring Hue to access MySQL and other databases.

5.3.1. Inspecting the Hue Database

The default SQLite database used by Hue is located in:


You can inspect this database from the command line using the sqlite3 program. For example:

# sqlite3 /usr/share/hue/desktop/desktop.db
SQLite version 3.6.22
Enter ".help" for instructions
Enter SQL statements terminated with a ";"
sqlite> select username from auth_user;

It is strongly recommended that you avoid making any modifications to the database directly using SQLite, though this trick can be useful for management or troubleshooting.

5.3.2. Backing up the Hue Database

If you use the default SQLite database, then copy the desktop.db file to another node for backup. It is recommended that you back it up on a regular schedule, and also that you back it up before any upgrade to a new version of Hue.

5.3.3. Configuring Hue to Access Another Database

Although SQLite is the default database type, some advanced users may prefer to have Hue access an alternate database type. Note that if you elect to configure Hue to use an external database, upgrades may require more manual steps in the future.

The following instructions are for MySQL, though you can also configure Hue to work with other common databases such as PostgreSQL and Oracle.

[Note]Tested Database Backends

Note that Hue has only been tested with SQLite and MySQL database backends. Configuring Hue to Store Data in MySQL

To configure Hue to store data in MySQL:

  1. Create a new database in MySQL and grant privileges to a Hue user to manage this database.

    mysql> create database hue;
    Query OK, 1 row affected (0.01 sec)
    mysql> grant all on hue.* to 'hue'@'localhost' identified by 'secretpassword';
    Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)
  2. Shut down Hue if it is running.
  3. To migrate your existing data to MySQL, use the following command to dump the existing database data to a text file. Note that using the ".json" extension is required.

    $ /usr/share/hue/build/env/bin/hue dumpdata > <some-temporary-file>.json
  4. Open the /etc/hue/hue.ini file in a text editor. Directly below the [[database]] line, add the following options (and modify accordingly for your MySQL setup):

  5. As the Hue user, configure Hue to load the existing data and create the necessary database tables:

    $ /usr/share/hue/build/env/bin/hue syncdb --noinput
    $ mysql -uhue -psecretpassword -e "DELETE FROM hue.django_content_type;"
    $ /usr/share/hue/build/env/bin/hue loaddata <temporary-file-containing-dumped-data>.json

Your system is now configured and you can start the Hue server as normal.

6. Hue Applications

This section includes documentation specific to built-in Hue applications.

6.1. Beeswax, the Hive UI

6.1.1. Introduction

Beeswax is an application that is a component within Hue that helps you use Hive to query your data.

6.1.2. Installation

Beeswax is installed as part of Hue.

6.1.3. Hive Configuration

Beeswax, the Hive interface in Hue, includes Hive 0.7. You do not need an existing Hive installation.

Your Hive data is stored in HDFS, normally under /user/hive/warehouse (or any path you specify as hive.metastore.warehouse.dir in your hive-site.xml). Make sure this location exists and is writable by the users whom you expect to be creating tables. /tmp (on the local file system) must be world-writable, as Hive makes extensive use of it.


If you used the embedded Hive MetaStore functionality of Beeswax in Hue from versions prior to Hue 1.2, read this section. Hue 1.2 includes changes in the Hive MetaStore schema that are part of the Hive 0.7 release. If you want to use Beeswax in Hue 1.2, it is imperative that you upgrade the Hive MetaStore schema by running the appropriate schema upgrade script located in the apps/beeswax/hive/scripts/metastore/upgrade directory in the Hue installation. Scripts for Derby and MySQL databases are available. If you are using a different database for your MetaStore, you will need to provide your own upgrade script.

6.1.4. Configuration No Existing Hive Installation

Familiarize yourself with the configuration options in hive-site.xml (see Having a hive-site.xml is optional but often useful, particularly on setting up a metastore. You may store the hive-site.xml in /etc/hue/conf, or instruct Beeswax to locate it using the hive_conf_dir configuration variable. See /etc/hue/conf/hue-beeswax.ini. Existing Hive Installation

In /etc/hue/conf/hue-beeswax.ini, modify hive_conf_dir to point to the directory containing hive-site.xml.

7. Using Hue

After installation, you can use Hue by navigating to http://myserver:8088/. The following login screen appears:


Launch applications on the bottom-right. images/open-apps.png

The Help application guides users through the various installed applications.

7.1. Supported Browsers

Hue is primarily tested on Firefox 3.5 and Firefox 3.6, on Windows, Mac, and Linux. Google Chrome and Safari work as well.

7.2. Feedback

Your feedback is welcome. The best way to send feedback is to join the mailing list, and send e-mail, to

7.3. Reporting Bugs

If you find that something doesn’t work, it’ll often be helpful to include logs from your server. These are available at the /logs URL on Hue’s web server (not part of the graphical Hue UI). Please download the logs as a zip (or cut and paste the ones that look relevant) and send those with your bug reports. images/logs.png